Music program helps Garden Terrace residents tap into favourite memories

‘We have seen a lot of positive recall in terms of the types of music they listen to; it takes them back’

The scene repeats itself often at Garden Terrace.

A resident will sit down with a life enrichment team member and an iPad loaded with a custom playlist of their favourite songs. The “play” icon is clicked, the music comes on and a smile crosses the resident’s face.

This is the best result that comes from the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home’s Music and Memory program, says Rachael King, Garden Terrace’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

“They listen to music and they talk about their past and they reminisce,” she tells The OMNIway.

Music and Memory is a biweekly program at Garden Terrace. It has been an activity that helps residents recall some of their fondest memories and brings them lots of joy, Rachael says.

Life enrichment team members learn from family members about residents’ favourite songs and artists, and music is then loaded into the iPad playlists specific to each participating resident’s tastes and preferences.

When listening to their playlists, some residents might be taken back to working on the family farm. Others might recall listening to the radio while helping their parents make dinner. Some might start reminiscing about their wedding day.

“We have seen a lot of positive recall in terms of the types of music they listen to; it takes them back,” Rachael says.

“We look up music specific to their past and load those songs into iPads. We learn how (music) influenced them and their occupations and their daily lives.”

And every time the program is held, team members learn something new about residents.

“We had a good little chat the other day about what (the music they enjoy) represents to them and what it means to them,” Rachael says.

March was Music Therapy Awareness Month in Canada.

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